WASHINGTON, April 29, 2022 – The third annual Digital Infrastructure Investment mini-conference, presented jointly with the Broadband Communities Summit in Houston, begins on Monday at 1 p.m. ET. The program will include two stellar lineups focused on Private Financing and Public Financing. This year, for the first time, the content and sessions associated with this event will be available free of charge.
This pathbreaking annual event brings the broadband infrastructure and financial services communities together to focus on the digital infrastructure and investment asset profile, including fiber, small cells, towers and data center assets required to support a 21st Century information economy.
Broadband Breakfast’s Digital Infrastructure Investment conference unites infrastructure investment fund managers, institutional investors, private equity and venture capitalists with senior broadband leaders and brings clarity to the next business model for advanced digital infrastructure.
Confirmed panelists for the session on “Private Financing” include:
- David Barron, CEO, Next Level Networks
- Andrew Semenak, Managing Director, Pinpoint Capital Advisors
- Noah Tulsky, Partner, Sidewalk Infrastructure Partners
- Shrihari Pandit, President and CEO, Stealth Communications
Confirmed panelist for the session on “Public Financing” include:
- Tom Coverick, Managing Director, Keybanc Capital Markets
- Matt Schmit, Director, Illinois Office of Broadband
- Roger Timmerman, Executive Director, UTOPIA Fiber
- Sunne Wright McPeak, President and CEO, California Emerging Technology Fund
“Broadband Breakfast is pleased to build upon its track record hosting Digital Infrastructure Investment with another stellar line up of executives at the intersection of broadband infrastructure and finance,” said Drew Clark, Editor and Publisher of Broadband Breakfast. “This year’s event will feature two panels, one on private financing and one on public financing. These discussions take place against the backdrop of the greatest federal infrastructure investment in history.”
“While we hope to see many of our colleagues in the broadband operations and finance space in Houston, Broadband Breakfast’s hybrid mini-conference allows individuals from anywhere in the world to join in the conversation,” said Clark. This year, #DII 2022 will be available free of charge to online registrants.
See updated details about Digital Infrastructure Investment 2022. The page will be continually updated.
Digital Infrastructure Investment 2022 Sponsors:
BroadbandNow is a data aggregation company helping millions of consumers find and compare local internet options. BroadbandNow’s database of providers, the largest in the U.S., delivers the highest-value guides consisting of comprehensive plans, prices and ratings for thousands of internet service providers.
Pinpoint Capital Advisors is a boutique corporate finance advisory firm specialized in the wireless tower, fiber and data center sectors. They are a leader in advising small and middle market companies on equity and debt capital raising, mergers, acquisitions and divestitures.
SiFi Networks funds, builds and owns FiberCity™ networks for use by Internet Service Providers, 4G/5G carriers and other service providers wishing to deliver ubiquitous high-speed broadband services to business and residential properties as well as connectivity for city-wide Internet of Things applications.
Created by a group of Utah cities, the Utah Telecommunication Open Infrastructure Agency (UTOPIA Fiber) is a community-owned fiber optic network that uses the Open Access model to promote competition by giving customers the freedom to choose which telecommunication services they want.
Positron Access specializes in carrier-grade telecommunications products that increase bandwidth delivered and the distance covered within both core access networks and residential buildings using existing wiring infrastructure. These include line powered digital subscriber line amplifiers/extenders that double the customer serving areas and increase the bandwidth, G.hn Gigabit Access Mulitplexors (GAM) that provide managed non-blocking symmetrical gigabit bandwidth to subscribers in multiple-dwelling units/multi-tenant units over copper pairs or coaxial cables; and bonded copper solutions for mobile backhaul, core transport, access and edge aggregation.
The California Emerging Technology Fund (CETF) has been on a mission over the last decade to forge partnerships and foster public policy to close the Digital Divide. This work has been strategically-focused, results-oriented, and people-centered. CETF is a leading proponent of the Digital Equity Bill of Rights.
To inquire about Digital Infrastructure Investment 2022, contact email@example.com.
Live Online registration for Digital Infrastructure Investment 2022 is available free of charge. Alternatively, join us in person by registering for Broadband Communities Summit in Houston.
Starlink Should Prevail in RDOF Challenge, Says Tech Think Tank
October 3, 2022 – The Federal Communications Commission’s decision to revoke Starlink’s $885 million award was “arbitrary” and “capricious,” said TechFreedom in comments filed with the Commission last week.
Starlink secured the award from the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund in December 2020, but the agency changed course and pulled the plug on the grant last August, claiming the company’s satellite technology is too new and unreliable to meet RDOF’s requirements. Starlink appealed the decision in September.
In its filed comments, TechFreedom, a think tank “dedicated to promoting the progress of technology that improves the human condition,” argued that the FCC overstated the flaws of Starlink’s network. Starlink’s growing constellation of satellites – already numbering in the thousands – is “revolutionary,” and network performance will rapidly improve as more satellites are launched, the comments said.
In response to FCC reservations about lagging upload speeds, the TechFreedom argued that Starlink will reach the required service speeds in the remaining three years before the Commission’s official deadline.
“How can the FCC pull all funding for Starlink based on current speed tests for a system that is not yet fully built, and for which deployment, speed, and latency milestones don’t apply for several more years,” the think tank wrote.
TechFreedom also argued that Starlink’s is the only technology able to reach some of the hardest-to-serve areas in America: “When the dust settles on this round of broadband deployment in a few years, and the new maps still show many Americans with no access to high-speed broadband, there will be no one to blame but this Commission.”
The revocation of Starlink’s grant was met with significant pushback from inside the Commission as well. In August, Commissioner Brandan Carr blasted the decision, saying, “The FCC’s decision offers no reasoned basis for determining that Starlink was incapable of meeting its regulatory obligations.”
Commissioner Nathan Simington outright endorsed Starlink’s challenge. “I am troubled that the decision to rescind SpaceX’s RDOF award applied standards that were not in our RDOF rules, were never approved by the Commission, and in fact made their first appearance in this drastic action,” he said.
Wireless Internet Service Providers to Connect More Fiber Points as Bandwidth Consumption Increases
‘The only way to get that density is to get fiber out there. That allows you to get more subs with your wireless.’
LAS VEGAS, October 6, 2022 – By employing more fiber points, wireless internet service providers can improve network performance and innovation, industry players at the WISPAPALOOZA conference told Broadband Breakfast.
Jay Anderson, chief technology officer of FiberLight, which has built fiber networks in several states, including Texas, Florida, and Virginia, told this publication as wireless internet service providers get more subscribers online, the existing connections to the fiber backbone can get congested without more densification of fiber points.
“The only way to get that density is to get fiber out there, and that allows you to get more subs with your wireless,” Anderson said.
Anderson said he expects WISPs to adopt a “hybrid architecture” moving forward. FiberLight’s Texan WISP partners have grown “leaps and bounds,” he said. “They’re using our infrastructure…to get that capacity out there…our job is to get as much of it out there, [at as high a] bandwidth as possible,” he added.
Mike Rowell, senior vice president of operations for Hilliary Communications, related some of his own professional experience with fiber to Broadband Breakfast. Hilliary provides internet, telephone, and television service across Texas and Oklahoma.
“We can see fiber helping us out tremendously in some areas getting us to a wireless access point,” Rowell said, explaining that a single fiber deployment can replace a less-reliable, multi-device connection to a hard-to-serve area. He said this strategy enabled his company to offer higher internet speeds and reach new customers.
Rowell has worked in telecommunications for four decades. He said he has seen once-prohibitive costs for fiber-installation machinery plummet, which makes fiber a far more viable option than it previously was.
“Fiber – from just…two years ago – was totally different than today,” he said. “You can [now] have fiber splicers that can do a really, really nice job for under $3,000.”
Rowell also emphasized the importance of foresight and innovative business planning. “We never thought we’d be selling one-gig, and here we are selling it,” he said. “It’s going to be the same thing: We don’t think we’re going to be selling 10-gig, but we’re going to.”
Garland McCoy: How Your State Can Defend Its Broadband Maps for Maximum Funds
Crowdsourced and bulk data are subject to a challenge process that has successfully eliminated crowdsourced data in the past.
On September 15, 2022, the Federal Communications Commission’s Broadband Data Task Force issued a public notice on “Specifications for Bulk Fixed Availability Challenge and Crowdsource Data.”
The notice provided guidance for filing bulk challenges, and bulk crowdsource data, to fixed broadband availability data that will be published later this year by the FCC as part of its new Broadband Data Collection. According to the notice, “individuals and entities, including consumers, state, local, and Tribal governmental entities, and service providers,” can submit challenges to the BDC fixed broadband availability data for single locations, as well as “bulk” challenges with respect to multiple locations.
Historically, Internet Service Providers have effectively used the FCC’s challenge process to disqualify the vast majority of disputes brought forward by states, counties, and other complainants regarding FCC’s broadband maps. And frankly, this will be the case again unless states take a new tack to validate their own data in such a way that will stand up to ISP challenges. Given the enormity of the federal broadband funds available to states this time around, the stakes could not be higher; that is, a single state could forgo hundreds of millions of dollars of federal broadband funds due to insufficient preparation to challenge-proof its data.
Here are two observations to start: 1) The ISPs are correct in challenging the data if the data is corrupted or incapable of being validated, and therefore should be disqualified. 2) the FCC and the ISPs must now be seen as embracing the new “crowdsourcing” challenge process since the Broadband Data Act of 2020 was very specific in requiring that the FCC’s new data gathering methodology include third-party crowdsourced data. That said, third-party “crowdsourced” and “bulk” data are subject to the same challenge process that has successfully eliminated individual and crowdsourced data in the past.
Three ways ISPs successfully challenge and disqualify third-party data
Alone, or in combination, the following three scenarios have succeeded year after year in ensuring that third-party data, crowdsourced or otherwise, has not made it past the challenge process and onto the FCC’s approved maps.
- Was the speed test launched from a device wirelessly? Modern modems set up a Wireless Area Network around the premises over the one or two Wi-Fi channels allocated. Almost all devices are now connected wirelessly to the modem. A wireless launch of a speed test, e.g., from your laptop or smart phone, therefore affects/corrupts the network speed test and disqualifies the data.
- Was the on-premises modem “still” when the speed test was taken? By “still” the ISP is referring to the modem’s management of data coming from any device remotely or over cable, ethernet connection, during the time of the test. For example, if a family member is working on their laptop, e.g., doing homework, the modem’s management of the data from the laptop will affect a speed test taken during that time. This will disqualify the speed test data.
- Was the crowdsourced and or bulk data drawn exclusively from the ISP’s premium service customers? The FCC stipulates that the speed testing data must be drawn from an ISP’s customers who have purchased the service provider’s best available service package. A customer might not need or be able to afford FCC’s “broadband” minimum service of 25/3 mbps, and thus would purchase a less expensive, slower service package offered by the ISP. For purposes of accurate speed testing, the ISP should not be penalized for offering true broadband-speed service that is passed over by a customer seeking a cheaper service.
PAgCASA, the Precision Ag Connectivity & Accuracy Stakeholder Alliance, is a non-profit organization whose sole purpose is to ensure broadband map accuracy, connectivity, and rural prosperity, stands ready to help states get their full share of federal broadband funds and successfully defend against challenges.
PAgCASA’s on-premises, cybersecure, network monitoring methodology – which deploys the same network monitoring devices the major ISPs use, on wired/ethernet-connected customer modems, from a volunteer pool of an ISP’s premium service customers selected using standardized random sampling methods – will, in fact, address all the challenge issues above and generate data ready for potential litigation.
As noted in another recent article on Broadband Breakfast, states like Georgia and North Carolina are finding significantly fewer served locations based on their latest state broadband data compared to FCC’s most recent Form 477 data. We expect to see similar differences across the country as states and the FCC bring forward their latest respective data.
Consider this: a ten percent delta between the FCC and state maps translates into a staggering $4 billion based on an overall federal broadband infrastructure spend of $40 billion – needed funds that will not make their way to genuinely unserved or underserved communities across the country.
Our nation can and must do better.
Garland T. McCoy, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Precision Ag Connectivity and Accuracy Stakeholder Alliance, is a long-time non-profit veteran in the fields of technology and telecommunication policy having served as Founder and CEO of the Technology Education Institute & Technology Policy Institute. Garland was recently an adjunct professor at Syracuse University’s iSchool, teaching information policy and decision making. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Broadband Breakfast accepts commentary from informed observers of the broadband scene. Please send pieces to email@example.com. The views reflected in Expert Opinion pieces do not necessarily reflect the views of Broadband Breakfast and Breakfast Media LLC.
- Starlink Should Prevail in RDOF Challenge, Says Tech Think Tank
- ECF Awards of $96 Million, Minority Communities, Charter and Digital Education
- Wireless Internet Service Providers to Connect More Fiber Points as Bandwidth Consumption Increases
- Garland McCoy: How Your State Can Defend Its Broadband Maps for Maximum Funds
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- Paul Atkinson: Why Fiber Trumps Satellite When Bridging the Digital Divide
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